If you’re anything like me, the end of another gruelling fantasy football season will have come as a relief due to the fantasy fatigue induced by 38 weeks of blood, sweat and tears.
And, if you’re anything like me, you’ll have been counting down the days to the world cup for another chance to draft your way into a strange affinity with 16 football players that previously meant very little to you.
This summer, it’s Draft Fantasy who are the providers of the game that will add another bit of spice to the festival of football that we all adore and, at the same time, give at least some meaning to games like Morocco v Iran.
I took part in a thoroughly enjoyable 15 (yes, fifteen) team draft as part of the Bang Average podcast league today and thought I would share my random notes and scribbling I made in an attempt to not look completely clueless when drafting alongside some Draft Fantasy experts.
Disclaimer: When it comes to World Cup Draft Fantasy Football, I am completely clueless.
I drafted from a pretty stinking 13th position in the 15 team draft. Considering my horrible drafting position and my accidental third round pick of Jamie Vardy (for goodness sake), I feel like I did OK. I’ll let you be the judge of it.
For the record, Draft Fantasy provided an excellent drafting platform.
Hope my notes make some sort of logical sense.
In all honesty, I find it hard to motivate myself to give any thought towards the goalkeeper I draft. In FPL this year, I chose to stream my goalkeeper position rather than commit to having one that I played throughout. Unfortunately, this is not an option in the World Cup version (Draft Fantasy also forces you to pick two ‘keepers) so in a token gesture I thought I’d rank 15 stoppers.
It makes sense to rank the world’s best goalkeeper at number one. David De Gea may well finish as the top scoring goalkeeper in the tournament but there is absolutely no value in reaching for him before you have your ten outfielders.
Someone in your draft will almost certainly pick De Gea and maybe even Neuer, Lloris, Alisson and Courtois in the first ten rounds, giving you the perfect chance to pick up your differential midfielders/forwards while they mess about with that.
Uruguay stopper Fernando Muslera represents excellent value in Draft Fantasy and the budget game as he stands behind the meanest (literally, the most horrible) defence in the competition.
I managed to get Willy Caballero (who probably still can’t believe he is Argentina’s number one at a world cup) late in today’s draft which I was extremely pleased with.
Marcelo’s complete disregard for defending may be the undoing of Brazil when they face up to the world’s elite in the latter stages of the competition but this also makes him a comfortable number one in my defender’s section. I fully expect the flying left back to register in both the goal and assists column this summer.
The right side of Brazil’s is more intriguing due to the absence of Dani Alves. Many have targeted Fagner in the salary game due to his low price but it looks like Manchester City’s Danilo will get the nod, making him an excellent option who could easily slip through the net in your draft.
Joshua Kimmich and Jonas Hector also promise plenty for Germany while Thomas Meunier could easily but World Cup Fantasy football’s answer to Marcos Alonso as he takes up the right midfield slot in Belgium’s 3-4-3 system.
Looking back, Benjamin Mendy’s ranking is kind due to lingering fitness doubts and due to the fact that (judging by a 10 second video I’ve seen of a friendly v USA) France’s defence looks to be far from watertight. He could, however, easily be an integral part of a formidable attacking lineup. Djibril Sidibe could easily be the budget version who scores just as well.
If you’re purely going for clean sheets, you can’t go too far wrong by choosing anyone from Uruguay, Spain or Germany. The likes of Mats Hummels and Diego Godin may fall in your draft due to their lack of attacking output but it’s well worth allowing your opponents to reach for the likes of Marcelo and Kimmich and pick up the solid centre back versions following the completion of your tasty midfield.
Thomas Muller is the personification of Germany: he always, always turns up at major tournaments. Muller is basically Miroslav Klose 2.0 and his classification as a midfielder in this game makes him irresistible. Few would bet against a repeat of his golden boot winning feat of eight years ago.
As a Liverpool fan, it pains me to say that Phil Coutinho looks very, very good coming into the tournament. The Barcelona (euch) man is now an integral part of a mouth watering Brazil attack. Plus he shoots from absolutely everywhere; one of them is bound to go in.
As an England fan, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Belgium’s “golden generation” slump to a quarter final defeat at this tournament. I fully expect them to breeze their group however and Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard will be at the centre of everything good that they produce. If they fall to you in the second round, snap them up.
In terms of enigmatic talent that may fall, Isco and Marco Reus could represent excellent later round value in your drafts. Anything around the 6th round for these players represents a potential steal. Mesut Ozil may experience a similar fate after a season to forget at Arsenal.
The midfield section is crawling with bargains. Ivan Perisic falls into the Muller category as someone who loves playing for him country while I can also see someone like Shinji Kagawa being the surprise package of the tournament.
Thomas Lemar and Morocco’s Ziyech very much fall into the “shop window” section and are well worth owning if you can use them as a 3rd/4th midfielder.
This is Neymar’s world cup. With Juan Camilo Zuniga’s challenge of four years ago still fresh in the memory and having also had his club season cruelly cut short before the Champions League last 16 clash with Real Madrid, the stage is set for Brazil’s golden boy to set the world alight once more. Anyone who saw him literally sit Austria’s defence down in their last friendly will know he is already back to his frighteningly, brilliant best. If you’re the first to pick in your draft, get Neymar.
Hot take: Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi would be great picks too. The Argentinean wizard edges it for me for this tournament which could be the last chance for both of them to shine at a world cup.
Sandwiched between those two and Neymar is Antoine Griezmann. The guy doesn’t need a shop window but he will almost certainly be moving on from Atletico Madrid after the World Cup and a decent showing could add another few millions on to his already hefty price tag. He’ll be at the centre of an excellent attacking French team.
As a differential forward pick, I really like Radamel Falcao. He is still his country’s talisman and Colombia have been handed a favourable group. He could easily bag in each of his first three games.
In truth, any of the first 14 names could walk away from this tournament with the golden boot. However, if you look at those remaining (bar maybe Lewandowski and The Egyptian King) you’ll see that the level of talent drops off considerably.
I like Fedor Smolov and Pablo Guerrero as uber differentials but the gulf in talent towards the end of the scale demonstrated the importance of drafting a forward as early as possible.
Get yourself on to Draft Fantasy and get drafting!